What do you understand by ‘Equality of Opportunity’?
Question 4. What do you understand by ‘Equality of Opportunity’?
What do you mean by equality of opportunity?
Discuss the idea of “Equality of Opportunity’.
Answer – Introduction
Equality of opportunity Equality means the state of being equal in status, rights or opportunities. Equality of status, and of opportunity means that all have equal human status and there will be no discrimination based on caste, creed, race, sex, place of birth, etc. All will get opportunities for development without any discrimination.
Fair Equality of Opportunity requires that social positions, such as jobs, be formally open and meritocratically allocated, but, in addition, each individual is to have a fair chance to attain these positions. John Rawls developed the most well-known conception of Fair Equality of Opportunity. For Rawls, an individual has a fair chance when her prospects for success in the pursuit of social positions are a function of her level of native talent and willingness to use them, and are not a function of her social class or background.
Equality of Opportunity
Equal opportunity, also called equality of opportunity, in political theory, the idea that people ought to be able to compete on equal terms, or on a “level playing field,” for advantaged offices and positions. Proponents of equal opportunity believe that the principle is compatible with, and indeed may justify, inequalities of outcome of some sort, but there is considerable disagreement over precisely to what degree and what kind of inequalities it justifies and how it does so.
Equality of opportunity is concerned principally with initial conditions, with the starting point of life. The more radical notion of equal opportunities is often thought to have followed naturally from the idea of formal equality. The idea of equal opportunities can be found in the writings of Plato, who proposed that social position should be based strictly upon individual ability and effort, and that the educational system should offer all children an equal chance to realise their talents.
Equal opportunities mean, put simply, the removal of obstacles that stand in the way of personal development and self-realization, a right that should surely be enjoyed by all citizens. It is opposed to nepotism and plays a role in whether a social structure is seen as legitimate. The concept is applicable in areas of public life in which benefits are earned and received such as employment and education, although it can apply to many other areas as well. Equal opportunity is central to the concept of meritocracy.
The American political philosopher John Rawls defended a version of fair equal opportunity. He argued that advantaged positions should be open to all, not only formally but also in such a way that each person has a fair chance of attaining them. He treated that idea as equivalent to the claim that those with the same level of talent and ability, and the same willingness to use them, should have the same prospects of success, regardless of factors such as class, race, and sex. Social democrats and modern liberals believe that equal opportunity is the cornerstone of social justice.
Equality of outcome
The idea of an equality of outcome is the most radical and controversial face of egalitarianism. Whereas equal opportunities require that significant steps are taken towards achieving greater social and economic equality, far more dramatic changes are necessary if ‘outcomes’ are to be equalised. This is a goal which uncovers a fundamental ideological divide: socialists, communists and some anarchists regard a high level of social equality as a fundamental goal. Although it is sometimes unclear whether ‘outcome’ refers to resources or to levels of welfare or fulfilment, the demand for equal outcomes is most commonly associated with the idea of material equality, an equality of social circumstances, living conditions and possibly even wages, while conservatives and liberals believe it to be immoral or unnatural.
J.J. Rousseau is often seen as a spokesperson for this school of thought. Advocates of equality of outcome, whether in its moderate or radical sense, usually argue that it is the most vital form of equality, since without its other forms of equality are a sham. Equal legal and civil rights are, for example, of little benefit to citizens who do not possess a secure job, a decent wage, a roof over their head and so forth. Equality of outcome can also be justified on the grounds that it is a prerequisite for securing individual liberty. As far as the individual is concerned, a certain level of material prosperity is essential if people are to lead worthwhile and fulfilled lives, an expectation to which each of us is surely entitled. Social democrats champion greater equality of
Equality is an important notion of Political Science. It is one of the most pious, non- intuitive and controversial of political values. Equality of opportunity is concerned with equalising the starting point of life in order to allow natural inequalities to flourish. Equality of outcome seeks to achieve equal, or at least more equal, circumstances of life, social equality.
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